Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Call of the Wild

The wilderness is not what it used to be. It’s shrinking, in both size and appeal. There are not as many pieces of land to explore, and discover, the secrets of survival. The desire to go there is not as strong. Yet, the hearts of some still long for it, for God drives us to it. He drives us away from the familiar and comfortable so we may explore, discover, learn, grow, enjoy, teach, and rest. 

The solitude of the wilderness refreshes us, yet, we can’t have the wilderness to ourselves. Nor, deep down, do we really want that. We want family and community--someone to share our wilderness with.

One says, “I can do it! I can live off the land by myself. I can survive, without help, without others, without cities, and conveniences.” But, when another, who is surrounded, no drowning, in conveniences sees this one, they laugh. “Why?” They ask. “Why do you do it?”

“Because. Just because. I can. ‘I can’ makes me happy. It makes me…alive.” They laugh again, and so I ask myself why. Do I turn away from conveniences just because they are convenient? No, for even in the wild we learn that some ways are ‘better’ than others if it makes survival easier.

So, where to draw the line?

Should we draw the line when conveniences become a snare, and cause us to lose our skill, making us dependent on them? But who, or what, do they make us dependent on? With almost every convenience comes a little more dependency on others. Ask yourself, who is it you are becoming dependent on, and what is the cost—the real cost? The reality is, we are all dependent on others to a certain degree—some more than others. Somewhere between total independence and total dependence is…life. 

Adam and Eve were told to fill the earth, with people. And with people come skills, art, sharing, community, and conveniences. Dependency, or trust in others, enabled us to do more, and do it better. Yet, some wonder, is this right? What about the tower of Babel?

The exploring, expanding, pioneering heart is in all of us. God put it there. But when the earth is filled, then what? Where do we go? What is calling us, driving us to fulfill that desire to explore and expand? All is full. Do we go back to the overcrowded cities, and save people from that jungle—those who are caught in the snare of too much, or wrongful, dependency? Do we choose a simple life, enjoying some conveniences, but refusing the ones that steal our skill, our art, our life? Just because we can, some say, doesn’t mean we should.

So where does this leave us? Do we abandon our quest for the wild and return to settle in the land of our ancestors, or our birth, is that now our calling? We all come from the same place originally, so yes, we find purpose when we return to the God of our creation spiritually, if not geographically. Yet, in this vast earth where do we settle? Do we settle, or do we press on, continuing to seek out some wild place to explore? Our hearts long for a land. For in our land we find the buried treasure of our purpose. We find home.

The fathers looked forward to the other-world country. They longed for it here knowing it is a land that satisfies. God truly is preparing a place for those seeking His kingdom--our true and permanent home. Until then, some here on earth look for the most original version of what God made. The most “untouched by humans” place. For too many people in a small space tend to make a mess of things. 

Everyone wants their own space, and when too crowded, we lose that feeling of “ownership.” Our home feels suffocating instead of refreshing, and we don’t value it as much. The land becomes stripped of its beauty when we don’t value it, care for it, or cultivate it properly. So many leave the cities and if they don’t go to the untouched wilderness, they at least search for that new suburb that will satisfy.

Yet, some find purpose in the cities, surrounded by people. Architectures that build in a way that enhances the natural beauty of a region, instead of spoiling it, have truly found their land and their purpose. Cities are full of people and within people is a “land.” Our bodies come from the earth, and we are to care for them, and see the value in them. But this includes caring for our gardens—where we live and work—for that nourishes our bodies and gives us purpose. Is that really the appeal of the wild—purpose? In the wild we rediscover the joy of simple living, and don’t take anything for granted—food, clothing, shelter, people, and the grace of God.

Listen, wherever God is calling you, go. Go to that land and meet Him there. Listen for the voice crying in the wilderness, your wilderness. Go and live in that land. Breathe, explore, and expand by teaching the next generation, as there is joy in watching the young learn and discover. As you teach children to settle in the wilderness you pursued and survived, they will build upon that. Teach them to value their land, no matter how big or small, no matter how populated or wild.

God knows when the earth is full, when the time is right for this age to end, and for the heavenly city to come. Until then, listen for the call of the wild, and settle there.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Pillars that Stopped the Wordicanes (Hurricanes)

The other morning, as I woke up, I had a dream-like vision. I saw something happening to the words people spoke. There were people speaking words, which were words of death. These were not life-giving words, but words which would bring destruction. At first, these appeared to be fairly "harmless" words that people casually spoke. As these words were spoken, God would send them out over the seas--oceans--to prevent destruction from coming on people. The power of these words had to go somewhere, so by His mercy He sent them out to the waters. There they would swirl around over the waters until they died out and stopped. At first they were small swirls that didn't hurt anything too bad.

But then, I saw many words--a multitude of words. Words of death and destruction. Particularly from the hearts of people in turmoil. With violent turmoil in their hearts they would speak these words of death. Others would join them and repeated their words. This was a serious problem as others joined them--those who didn't have the same extent of turmoil in their heart--but they agreed with them and spoke their words. These words were also sent out to the seas and swirled around, but there were too many. They gathered and created a storm. Their mission was to accomplish the death and destruction they were sent to do--particularly in America. They rose up as storms--hurricanes--over the waters.

As the "wordicanes" (hurricanes made from words) raged, I saw pillars begin to form. Cloud pillars began rising straight up through the hurricane clouds. They were the prayers of the saints. As these cloud pillars rose up they slowed down the hurricanes over the waters. The more pillars that popped up, the more the winds slowed down. Even though the pillars were made out of clouds, they were thick and strong pillars that interrupted the flow of the hurricane. The pillars were prayer and repentance. Repentance for the words of death, and more. There were several strong ones at first, and then some smaller ones began to pop up too. All of them helped stop the force of the hurricanes.

After a bit, I saw the hurricanes flatten out, getting thinner and thinner. Then I saw rainbows coming down from them. The rainbows, as it says in the Bible, were a reminder of God's promise that He would never again destroy the earth by flood. Reminded by God's rainbow promise there was repentance for sin, particularly sexual sin--the LGBT movement that uses the rainbow as a symbol of wickedness, throwing it in God's face, testing His mercy. This may have also included any mishandling of God's mercy--taking advantage of it by accepting what He does not accept. Repentance for accepting the homosexual movement, as well as repentance for spoken words of death, were the pillars that stopped the storm.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Dissolving Racism at The Call

The Call 11/11/2011
Almost six years ago, I went to The Call--Detroit which was a 24-hour prayer meeting held at Ford Field. It was a time of addressing racism in many forms. There were a few instances during the meeting that really touched me. One was the Indians. A group of Indians (sorry I don't remember which tribe or type) were on stage in their dress having a time of celebration with white people, some who were the leaders of the event. It was a lot of fun, yet part of it included a time of repentance for taking their land.

Next, there was a time of repentance from white people towards the black people represented there, for the slavery our ancestors inflicted upon them. It was very touching, and a little surprising to me when a young black minister repented to the white people for the grudges he held against them, causing racism in his own heart. You could see an older black minister surprised by this, and trying to process the whole idea himself. At one point, I made I saw him watching me (I was in the front row) and made eye contact with him as he saw me talking and laughing with the black girl next to me.

The most powerful time, I thought, came when a former Muslim terrorist was on stage with a Jewish Rabbi, and got on his knees to ask for forgiveness for his hatred and treatment of the Jewish people. The Rabbi sobbed uncontrollably and the moment was a powerful one.

These public displays of repentance caused the Indian girl standing near me to approach me. As she said who she was I immediately asked her for forgiveness personally, to which she replied, "No, I have people ask me for forgiveness all the time. I forgive all of you. What I need is for you to forgive me for the attitude I've held against the white people." It was a moment of awareness for her, and a very humbling time for me.

The whole event, with all of the walls coming down, and repentance and forgiveness flowing both directions, was amazing. I pray we stir up this time of attitude in the church, flowing out into the world, so the love of God can touch every heart.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Proclaim His Word with Authority

As the ekklesia, the governing body of the Lord in the earth, we are called to steward His Word here. He has already spoken His Word, and it's up to us--His body in the earth--to continue to speak it so it reverberates throughout the earth. God's Word doesn't die. It's still alive and powerful, and He is watching over His Word to perform it (Jeremiah 1:12). When His people speak His Word with the authority He has granted to us, He sees it, and His power backs His spoken Word, to bring it to pass. When you proclaim His Word, He's watching over it, and He will do it.

The Bible also tells us,"This is the confidence which we have before Him that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us, and if we know that He hears us...we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him (1 John 5:14-15). We have to know that He hears us, and we will know that He hears us if we know that what we're asking for is His will. So when we ask for something, when we pray, when we make proclamations here in the earth, we need to know that what we're saying aligns with the Word of God, which is the will of God. His Word is His will.  And when we speak the Word of God, He's listening. We have His attention. The eyes of the Lord go back and forth across the earth and when someone speaks His Word from a confident heart, knowing that it's His will, He hears and He answers. He needs His Word to be spoken from someone with a believing heart in the earth, in order to back it with His power from heaven.

So when we pray for America, concerning the condition of our government, our schools, etc. we want to pray according to the Word of God, we want to be releasing the Word of God into the earth--proclaiming it with authority--and declaring what His Word says into the atmosphere. This is what it means to be the ekklesia, the church, the governing body. We release His Word into the earth, and as we do, He is watching over it to bring it to pass.

Any issues of concern in your life, in your family, you community, or country, pray, proclaim, speak, and believe according to the Word of God. Jesus said all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him, and then He said for us to go in His name. He's given us authority in the earth. (Matthew 28:18). If we take that authority, and believe, having faith in His Word, knowing that it is His will, then we will be able to pray and proclaim accordingly. But if we begin to doubt that this isn't His will, then we're not going to be able to receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-7).

He needs us to speak and release according to His Word, but he needs us to do so in faith, confidently knowing that this is His will. In order to do this we have to know His Word, so read the Bible. Start by praying and proclaiming the Psalms over the earth, your country, your state, and your community. Know what His Word says, so you can release it confidently, with authority, in the earth.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Discernment in the Spiritual Realm

Seeing into the spiritual realm is a gift from the Lord that His people can pursue and grow in. However, once you see into this realm, it's important to realize that not everything here is to be embraced. Just because something is spiritual, or supernatural, doesn't mean it should be accepted. It depends on the spirit it originates from. Ask yourself, is this from the Spirit of God, or another spirit?

The two trees in the Garden of Eden were the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Notice it was good and evil. Even though this second tree had a certain amount of knowledge of good, it was still contrary to the will of God for them to eat of that tree. He wanted them to partake of the tree of life instead. Something, or someone in the spiritual realm, may appear to be O.K. or even good, but is it God? All that glitters is not gold, and even Satan himself appears as an angel of light. There are counterfeits in the spirit that try and present themselves as "good" so you will accept them, giving power to them in the earth.

Not only is it important to discern where this thing you're seeing originates from, but the desire and pursuit of your heart is important as well. Is it your desire to encounter God and to hear from His heart, His Spirit; or are you so fascinated by the fact that you have an encounter with the spiritual realm that you don't really care, or think about, whether this thing is from God or not? Don't be so "wowed" by the spiritual realm that you accept something that is not from the Spirit of God. There is both good and evil there. This is the difference between the "second" and "third" heaven. The second heaven is used to refer to that realm where the devil and his cohorts hang out, and the third heaven is the heavenly realm where God is. Ask the Lord to give you discernment into the difference so you will not be impressed by the supernatural nature of things, and as a result deceived into selling out to something that is not from the Spirit of God.

We see a more common example of this when someone first begins to develop in spiritual discernment. They become aware of a spiritual influence in a situation, but stop short of responding according to the Holy Spirit themselves. For example, let's say you see a person who seems to be sincere in encouraging someone, but it becomes obvious to you that he is more interested in drawing attention to himself. You see this, and recognize the ungodly influence over him, but become critical of him in your heart, maybe even verbalizing that criticism to him, or someone else, rather than asking the Lord what you should do about it. If your discerning "revelation" about that person prompts you to respond in a way that is contrary to the Spirit of God, then something is off--either the origin of your discernment, or the attitude of your heart, or both.

To check out your heart-motivations, ask the questions:
  • Is my love and passion for the Lord at such a point where I will reject what is not from Him, even if it appears impressive?
  • Is my desire to be like the Lord, and to flow with Him by His Spirit only?
  • Is my desire to honor the Lord, worship and glorify Him, rather than draw attention to myself and my gift?
  • Is my desire to build His kingdom, not a ministry for myself?
  • Does what I am seeing align with His nature, which is His Spirit?
  • Does what I am seeing align with His Word?
We should all pursue spiritual gifts, and seek to grow in what the Lord has called us to, but we must stay sincere in our hearts so we stay in sync with His Holy Spirit. This is for God's glory, and our protection, so we are not led astray by seductive and flattering spirits.

Genesis 2:9, 2 Corinthians 11:14, 2 Corinthians 12:2, Ephesians 6:12, 1 Timothy 4:1

Saturday, May 20, 2017

America and the American Church

The United States is a Christian nation with separation of church and state, which means that the government doesn't dictate how the church is run. Churches have the right to operate free from governmental interference, and what that really means, is that the people have the freedom to live their lives in worship and obedience to God without the government passing laws that would oppose. In fact, the government is to protect the right of the people to live, work and speak as they believe.

The church is the ecclesia, or governing body of the Lord in the earth. The constitution was written to protect the church and the freedom of the people to worship freely. People are allowed to worship freely in their homes, their churches, and in the "public square" and business. These freedoms were given to the church at its founding. It was presumed that we would always remain a Christian nation.

So what do we do when an ideology which opposes both the church and the constitution, calls itself a religion and tries to claim the same freedom that the constitution provides to the church? Our government should recognize that these attempts are direct attacks on our freedom and oppose them. It should not open its arms to "religions" who oppose the constitution, such as Islam's Sharia law. Their goal is to remove and replace the church in America, not simply get in on the freedom of worship, and they will do that by force if it comes to the point where they feel they could.

As the ecclesia in America, the responsibility of the American church (or American Christians) is to prohibit anything that opposes this freedom from infiltrating or gaining a foothold in our land. Some of this is done spiritually in prayer and proclamation, yet as Americans who have both the right and responsibility to vote and hold our legislatures accountable, we are to take action through "non-spiritual" means as well.

In the Old Testament, we see that God's people got into trouble whenever they wouldn't tear down "the high places" or when they would allow those who worshiped false gods to remain in the land after He told them to go in and possess it. In the same way, if we allow those who oppose the Lord to promote their ways, and increase in both number and influence, then we are removing the protection and blessing that He has placed over us. Our own actions (or inaction) will be the very thing that becomes a snare and takes us down.

Compromise is not the answer. Political correctness is not the answer. This isn't even about immigration or refugees. It's about protecting the Judaeo Christian values that we were founded on, and not being so naive as to think that we are somehow immune from having enemies who hate us, just because we're "nice." Do we love our enemies as Jesus said? Absolutely, but we love God more, and work to build His kingdom, defend the faith, and the land He's entrusted to us.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A New Season of Seeds

It's Spring time! It's time to examine our soil and prepare for a new season of seeds! This is a spiritual season as well where we need to allow the Son to warm the soil of our hearts, so we can nurture the seeds He desires to grow within us. Both the written and spoken Word are destiny seeds planted within us that will cause us to be fruitful in everything the Lord has planned for us in His great garden! (Matthew 13:19).

The challenge is that the enemy will try and plants seeds within our heart as well. Seeds of resentment and a host of other related seed get thrown at our hearts through various ways. As a means of self-protection, the temptation might be to harden the ground of our hearts to keep the bad seed out. However, this keeps our soil in a frozen, winter state--a barren place where the good seed cannot grow either. Instead, we need to allow the sun to warm and soften our heart-soil, so we can nurture the fruitful seed of the Spirit within. (Galatians 5). So how do we protect our soil from bad seed?

Watch over your heart with all diligence,
For from it flow the springs of life.
Proverbs 4:23

Once seed is planted, you don't dig it up. If you try and dig up the bad seed, you will dig up the good seed with it. It does no good to dig through the soil trying to separate good seed from bad seed. By the way, you don't want to dig up the good seed to try and examine it and see what kind of seed it is either. You need to nurture it, and let it grow or it will never bear fruit! You will see the fullness of what God has called you to as long as you nurture the seed, keep your soil soft, receive the sunlight and water necessary for growth!

You need to catch the bad seed before it even hits the soil or has a chance to penetrate! However, the enemy makes it very difficult at times, throwing seed at you from several directions, when he does, we don't want to harden our hearts. We want to continue to nurture the good seed, properly caring for our heart-soil, remaining on guard over it, so we recognize any seedlings of the enemy that might have gotten through as soon as they spring up. In this stage, they can be easily pulled out, root and all, as long as our soil is still soft. The softer our hearts, the surer we are that all the seedling is removed.

We must not neglect the guarding of our heart, because we don't want any bad seed to get the chance to develop a root system. If it does, it requires much more working of the ground to remove the root, which delays the growth of the good seed, and the fruitfulness that will come from it. Happy gardening!